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Consumer Protection: New Credit Card Fees Kick in Sunday

January 26, 2013 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Consumer Rights

From ABC News:

Starting Sunday, paying by credit card could get more expensive. Under the terms of a $7.2 billion settlement reached last summer between credit card companies and merchants, merchants will be free to impose a surcharge on customers paying by credit card.

How big a surcharge depends on how much the merchant pays in processing fees, but the amount legally permissible will be between 1.5 percent and 4 percent of your purchase price.

No one knows how many merchants will exercise this right, but Gerri Detweiler, director of consumer education at Credit.com, expects the number to be small, at least at first.

By law, merchants intending to pass the cost along will have to post notices at check out informing consumers of the extra charge. Online merchants will have to post a similar notice to their home page.

Ten states prohibit credit card surcharges, so if you’re making a purchase in any of the following, you won’t have to worry about being penalized: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.

You also don’t need to worry if you’re paying by debit card, since those are excluded from the settlement agreement. Nor do American Express customers need worry: AmEx’s contract with retailers forbids them from levying a surcharge.